The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has denied writing a ‘secret memo’ to President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend the nation’s constitution over the growing insecurity in the country.
Malami, who described himself as a champion of “Pro-Constitutional Democracy”, said he is an ardent believer of rule of law and democracy.
An online medium, Peoples Gazette reported on Wednesday that AGF Malami had reportedly written a legal advice to President Buhari to declare a nationwide state of emergency and suspend the constitution as part of the government efforts in arresting growing insecurity in the country.
The medium alleged that Malami specifically suggest to the President to suspend Chapter IV of the Constitution which guaranteed the fundamental rights of all Nigerians to remove legal impediments in the fight against insecurity.
The eight-page “secret memo” dated May 4, 2021, the Minister of Justice advised Buhari that insecurity across Nigeria had reached a level that could no longer be checked by existing democratic techniques.
According to the alleged “secret memo”, “The essence of declaration is to allow for suspension of constitutional and legal bureaucratic bottlenecks pertaining to matters of National Security with particular regards to fundamental rights guaranteed under Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution and processes and procedures relating to procurements, among others.
But Malami in a statement while reacting to the report on Thursday, described the alleged “secret memo” as false and never emanated from his office.
The statement signed by the Minister’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, was titled “I am Pro-Constitutional Democracy- Malami.”
“The attention of the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has been drawn to a false and fictitious report alleging that there was a secret memo emanating from the Office to the Presidency.
“General publics are hereby asked to disregard the media report as fabrications of anti-constitutional democratic stability in Nigeria.
“Malami remains a true democrat who believes in rules of law and tenant of democracy and Constitutional order.
The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice is a constitutionally recognised one with its role and responsibilities embedded in the constitution.
It is antithetical to common sense to think that the holder of such coveted Office as the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice will stoop to what was printed by the media.
“The Government does not operate in secrecy as it is not a clandestine operation. Hence, Malami discharges his constitutionally recognized mandates in compliance with principles of transparency, openness and accountability”, the statement read.